Sometimes we as rappers can become too self-absorbed when we’re writing our rap songs and not take the listener into consideration. It’s important to remember that our end goal is to share our music with other people in hopes that they will enjoy it. While making music is a form of self-expression we should also be thinking of ways that we can make our rap songs more relatable and entertaining to the listeners. Without further ado, here are 4 ways you can make your next song more entertaining.
One thing that helps with being entertaining is understanding some basic human psychology. Basically, human psychology is “the study of the mind and behavior of humans”. In other terms, understanding the way your brain and behavior works doesn’t just apply to you, it also applies to every human being. And if you are a rapper, you are an entertainer, and it’s an entertainer’s job to captivate their audience!
As a rapper/entertainer you are in the emotions business. It’s your job to make the listener feel something! If you think about why you remember some of the things that you do from many years ago, it’s likely because your memory is attached to some type of emotional or traumatic experience you had. For example, first-time experiences are a big one! You likely remember the first time someone stole something from you (betrayal/hurt) or your first crush (love/nervousness). You also likely remember times you did something really stupid and risked getting into big trouble (fear/regret). If you can write a song that’s focused around one of these human emotions you will be much more likely to resonate with your audience. Here is a list of all the core human emotions.
Fear – the feeling of being afraid, frightened, or scared. An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.
Anger – feeling angry. A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
Sadness – feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy.
Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Disgust – a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
Surprise – a feeling of mild astonishment or shock caused by something unexpected.
Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Anticipation – in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen.
Since the beginning of time, we have gathered around fires to tell stories. If you reflect back to your childhood you likely remember how much you enjoyed a good story before going to bed. We as human beings love a good story! It’s in our DNA from many moons ago!
Every song doesn’t have to be in an autobiographical format. Meaning every song doesn’t have to be about what’s going on in your real day to day life. Or even if you decide to write a song about your life it doesn’t have to be 100% factual. Just like most movies, it can be “based” on true events or it can be totally made up!
A few good storytelling songs I recommend you check out are
J.Cole Wet Dreams – more realistic with a great plot twist at the end! This may or may not have happened in J. Cole’s real life. He could also be telling a story about what other kids go through. Instead of talking to the kids, he’s telling a story from a kids’ perspective.
Eminem As The World Turns – On the opposite end of the spectrum, this song by Eminem is very cartoonish! It’s totally ridiculous and it displays his dark twisted sense of humor. Eminem sucks you into his crazy little world he created just for your amusement!
If you want to give storytelling a try, be sure to check out my article on how to write a song using storyboards.
3 Alternate Perspectives
I already hinted at this earlier with J.Cole but you don’t have to write every song from your perspective. Try to put yourself in someone’s shoes and imagine what it’s like being them. In J.Cole’s song, he raps from a young male perspective and also a young female perspective. Switching perspectives is like switching camera angles in a movie or TV show. And as the songwriter, you’re the director so have fun with it!
Most people listen to music because they want to escape from the stresses of their day. There is a reason why people don’t want to hear about politics while watching the NBA. Because they hear about politics all the time at work, on social media, etc..
For example, when we have gone through financial recessions in recent times past, we had all types of businesses closing but an industry that was still thriving was the entertainment industry. There were still tons of movies coming out, comedians were still fully booked doing shows, and musicians were still packing out concert venues! Many people were struggling financially at that time which made the demand to escape for just a moment even more desirable!
As an entertainer, you are an outlet for people to escape at the end of a crappy day or stressful week. Try to keep in mind what other people are going through and create a song that lifts their burdens for a moment or makes them forget about all that is wrong in their world. And don’t be afraid to try and make people laugh in your songs. Every song doesn’t have to be so serious. Some songs can be all about having fun!
Be A Chef
Think of yourself as a musical chef. Your songs are the meals that you prepare for your listeners to consume and enjoy and all of your songs don’t have to taste the same. Use these 4 techniques above to add more variety to your songs while making them more relatable and enjoyable to your listeners!